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Cornell shuts out Miami

OXFORD, Ohio – Special teams are the main reason Miami won on Friday, but a night later they were the RedHawks’ nemesis.

No. 5 Cornell scored three times in the first 13 minutes and handed Miami its first shutout of the season, 4-0 at Cady Arena on Saturday.

The Big Red (10-2) netted goals on each of their first two power plays, added a third tally 35 seconds after that second PPG and tacked on an empty netter. They were perfect on three penalty kills.

On Friday, the RedHawks scored just two times with both goals coming on the man advantage, and they were 4-for-4 on the PK.

At the 9:24 mark of the first period, Cornell’s Anthony Angello skated from behind the goal line to the outside edge of the faceoff circle and whipped a low shot that snuck through the pads of Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.

A wrist shot from the blue line by the Big Red’s Yanni Kaldis was deflected by Trevor Yates and past Larkin just 2:37 after the first goal.

And 38 seconds after that, Kyle Bettis netted his first career goal, ripping one home from the slot off a centering feed by Alex Rauter.

That put Miami (7-7-2) down three against a fifth-ranked Cornell team that came into the game allowing 2.00 goals per game.

The RedHawks actually outshot the Big Red, 18-13 the final 40 minutes but could not solve goalie Hayden Stewart, who played the third period on Friday in relief.

He finished with 26 saves and his first shutout of the season. It was the first time Miami had been blanked since Jan. 21 vs. Nebraska-Omaha.

Miami’s Casey Gilling (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The loss snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for MU, which fell back to .500.

Casey Gilling received a misconduct penalty in the second period, the team’s fifth 10-minute penalty in five games. Miami has been assessed 113 penalty minutes in its last five games.

The RedHawks completed their non-conference schedule as well as their 2017 home slate. They travel to Western Michigan next weekend to wrap up the pre-Christmas Break portion of their schedule.

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Miami powers past No. 5 Cornell

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami was outshot by more than a 2-to-1 ratio and finished with its lowest shot output of the season.

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

But the RedHawks scored on both of their power play chances and rode 29 saves by goalie Ryan Larkin to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Cornell at Cady Arena on Friday.

It was the first meeting between these teams in Oxford, and Miami was swept in a two-game set in Ithaca last season. The Big Red finished with 30 shots to Miami’s 13.

The night certainly did not start off well for the RedHawks.

A wrister by Alex Rauter hit the top corner of the net, putting Cornell (9-2) ahead 3:59 into the first period.

Just over 2:30 later, Miami defenseman Grant Hutton was ejected for a checking-from-behind major.

In addition to being one of the RedHawks’ top penalty killers, Hutton leads college hockey with six power play goals.

Miami’s Casey Gilling (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

But Miami (7-6-2) killed the five-minute man advantage, and on a power play of their own, the RedHawks tied it with 3:25 left in the opening frame. Casey Gilling’s seeing-eye wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle snuck in the far corner of the net.

With 54 seconds left in the second period, Gordie Green took a pass from Gilling, penetrated on the left wing and buried a shot, top shelf to put Miami ahead.

The RedHawks survived a furious Big Red surge in the third period, as they were outshot, 12-3.

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami has been exceptional in both facets of special teams recently, as the team is 5-for-10 in its last three games on the man-advantage and has played four straight contests without allowing a power play goal.

Green and Gilling both finished with a goal and an assist. It was Gilling’s first career multi-point game, and the fifth of the season for Green, who leads the team in assists (11) and points (17).

Josh Melnick and Louie Belpedio also picked up assists for the RedHawks. Melnick extended his points streak to four games, and Belpedio has six points in his last six games.

Miami stretched its unbeaten streak to four and are a game over .500 for the second time this season.

These teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Analysis: MU overcomes lapse

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Comfortably ahead by two goals in the second period, Miami saw its lead evaporate in less than 4:00 and under 10 minutes of real time on Friday.

The RedHawks’ response? Score twice in the closing minutes of the decisive period, tack on an empty netter in the closing seconds and most importantly hold Bowling Green without a goal the remainder of the game.

That combination spelled a 6-3 win for Miami at the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green.

It was the sixth win of the season for the RedHawks, who won nine all of 2016-17. And the above is a major difference between that campaign and this one.

It seems like Miami was in a ton of games that got away last season. The RedHawks haven’t been exempt from the occasional collapse this fall, but they’ve still found ways to earn several wins when they’ve suffered through major in-game hiccups.

And on Friday they did that on the road and without faceoff leader Casey Gilling.

Things won’t always go Miami’s way the remainder of the season. Injuries, bad calls, unlucky bounces are all parts of the game.

But at least Miami is proving way better at handling them than last season.

Other thoughts…

– Forgot to mention in the preview that Chaz Switzer was suspended two games total for his fighting major last Saturday. One game is mandated by the NCAA and the other by the league. What a joke. – Meyer likes the off-balance shots.

Miami’s Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– It was Carter Johnson’s first game of the season, as he was the fourth line left wing with Casey Gilling out, and Johnson played like every shift would be his last. It can’t be an easy season for Johnson, a scratch the first 12 games after logging 37 in 2016-17, but he proved Friday he can be counted on for quality minutes if/when his number is called again.

– Carson Meyer really likes taking off-balance shots, perhaps more than any Miamian in recent history. He scored while nearly falling down last weekend and accurately wired a pair of shots in the same manor on Friday from the slot.

– Bowling Green goals two and three both came on defensive breakdowns, which was a team MO last season and an area of improvement this year. Miami left the slot wide open for the second Falcons goal, and a BGSU forward burst through three RedHawks for a breakaway to tie it (and Miami was lucky it wasn’t assessed an additional penalty on the play). Gotta tighten up the D.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B+. Crisp passing, solid puck control, four total goals by this corps. It was a good night overall despite missing Gilling. Three goals in three games for Meyer is a major pick-me-up, and Kiefer Sherwood was more involved in the game as well.

DEFENSEMEN: B. A couple of lapses but overall a solid game. Grant Hutton scored twice and Louie Belpedio assisted on two goals. Transition passing was above average as well.

GOALTENDING: B-. Ryan Larkin stopped just 11 of 14 shots, but he made a solid save right before the first goal, scored at the end of an extended shift. He had no chance on the second goal, and third was on a breakaway. Larkin did make a couple of outstanding saves. It’s a common theme for the young netminder: He doesn’t face a ton of shots, but a lot of the ones he sees are Grade-A.

LINEUP CHANGES: As expected, Grant Frederic was back in the lineup with Switzer suspended. He was the seventh defenseman last Saturday and is playing a lot better than he did early in the season. With Gilling out, it was Johnson in.

Analysis: End game going Miami’s way

OXFORD, Ohio – If Friday’s conference opener was any indication, this could be a fun NCHC season.

Miami led by one then trailed by one, scored the tying goal with 51 seconds left and the winner in overtime of a 3-2 victory over Colorado College at Cady Arena on Friday.

No one expects this to happen 100 percent of the time when games are close, but this is two games in a row in which the RedHawks faced adversity late and killed it.

Last Saturday, Connecticut had all the momentum heading into the third period and Miami came out with three quick goals to shut the door.

There have been a number of similar games the past few seasons in which the final outcome has gone the other way, and 6-on-5 has been RedHawk kryptonite.

MU entered this four-game homestand 1-3 and has won three much-needed contests in a row to pull a game over .500, and the RedHawks have a chance to sweep the four-game set and its first NCHC series of 2017-18.

The way Miami has played late in the past two games, things are definitely looking good heading into the RedHawks’ home finale.

Other thoughts…

– It was a well-played game by both teams, and as expected, CC is much better than in past seasons. Obviously the ending makes that easy to say, but the quality of play was high even in those first two fairly-uneventful periods, especially considering it’s still early November.

– Colorado College scored both of its goals on the power play. The interference on Rourke Russell was the right call, but Grant Hutton barely contacted a player with the puck and was whistled for tripping. The officiating was pretty inconsistent, and the Tigers received six power plays to Miami’s two.

Miami’s Ben Lown (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Ben Lown is currently the third member of the top line with Gordie Green and Josh Melnick, and he proved deserving of that role with the centering feed to Melnick for the overtime winner. Like several of the other freshmen, he seems to be gaining confidence with each game.

– Three RedHawks took at least eight faceoffs, and all had winning records. Melnick was 15-13, Casey Gilling finished 13-7 and Kiefer Sherwood won six of eight. Overall Miami was 39-29 on the night.

– Green and Melnick both have five-game points streaks. Green has all of his team-best 13 points in that span (4-9-13), and Melnick is 2-6-8. Louie Belpedio has three goals in his last two games, and Melnick has goals in consecutive games as well.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C+. Melnick and Gilling both found the net, but this corps combined for just 15 shots and four of its five minor penalties resulted in CC power plays. Ryan Siroky dished out a pair of huge hits, but Miami didn’t get much offensive production from its bottom three lines. Kiefer Sherwood and Carson Meyer combined for just one shot, and Karch Bachman had three – including some high-percentage attempts – as the third member of that line, but he appears somewhat snakebitten.

DEFENSEMEN: B+. Belpedio juked at the blue line and wired one home for one of the goals. Colorado College generated 30 shots but 11 were on the power play. Chaz Switzer stopped a 31st and a would-be goal when he blocked a shot at the top of the crease while goalie Ryan Larkin was scrambling to get back into position.

GOALTENDING: B. Twice Larkin sprawled across the goal mouth to stop A-plus chances, and he was 28 of 30 overall (.933). One of the shots slipped through in heavy traffic, and both were on the power play. Larkin had allowed 16 goals the first four games but has surrendered just three in his last three starts.

LINEUP CHANGES: None again. It’s the third straight game the same 18 skaters have dressed, and Larkin has been between the pipes for the start of all seven of Miami’s contests.

Another OT winner for Melnick

OXFORD, Ohio – Josh Melnick loves overtime, especially when Miami plays Colorado College.

Miami celebrates after Josh Melnick’s game winner on Friday (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The last time the RedHawks played the Tigers, MU won, 3-2 in overtime at Cady Arena, with the winner coming from Josh Melnick.

Copy and paste, as Miami won by the same score at the same venue with the same guy scoring the OT winner on Friday.

It was the third career overtime goal for Melnick.

The extra session came after a wild third period that saw the RedHawks go from up one to down one and finally even after tying it with 51 seconds remaining.

Following a scoreless first period, Miami (4-3) took the lead when Louie Belpedio juked at the blue line and whipped into the top corner of the net with 12:34 left in the second period.

It remained 1-0 until the 6:51 mark of the third period, when Trevor Gooch’s tip-in tied it on the power play.

Colorado College (5-4) went ahead with 4:40 remaining when a blue-line shot snuck past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin in heavy traffic.

But with the extra attacker on, Gordie Green gloved down a puck and slid a pass across the slot to Casey Gilling for a game-tying one-timer with 51 seconds remaining.

In overtime, Ben Lown chipped a centering pass to a streaking Melnick, who was able to bat the puck past goalie Alex Leclerc and into the back of the net with 2:23 left in that stanza.

It was the third straight win for Miami and it snapped an 0-9-1 skid for the RedHawks against conference foes.

Green finished with two assists, giving him a team-best 13 points, all in the last five games.

Ryan Larkin stopped 28 shots to earn the win for Miami.

It was the NCHC opener for the RedHawks, who are in a five-way tie for first with three points.

These teams will wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Analysis: Eerie parallels to Plymouth

A week after winning an exhibition against Team USA, 7-5 on the road, Miami beat Maine by the same score in its first regular season road game of the season on Friday.

The odds of winning back-to-back road games by that score are pretty long, but it gets weirder.

– Grant Hutton had never scored multiple goals in a game prior to last week. He netted two vs. the USNDT and two vs. Maine.

– Josh Melnick had never recorded three assists – or even three points – in a game. His line was 0-3-3 in both contests.

– Got one better: The last time Miami and its opponent had both found the net at least three times in the second period? Oct. 17, 2009. The RedHawks outscored the U-18 squad, 4-3 in the middle stanza last week. On Friday both teams connected three times in that frame.

And that wild game 5-5 road tie eight years ago to the date? Nope, it wasn’t against Maine, but it was at the closest Division I school to Orono – at New Hampshire, less than 200 miles away.

Winning a road exhibition had to instill confidence in a team that had gone so long between victories. Traveling over 1,000 miles to beat a Division I team is way better.

The freshmen have a win under their belt after an 0-2 start including a brutal ending to Game 2. The sophomores finally got back on the winning track after a seemingly eternal winless streak and the veterans needed the pick-me-up as well after a lack of success Miami’s past couple of seasons.

Other thoughts…

Miami’s Grant Hutton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Amazing how Grant Hutton went from a zero-goal freshman campaign to being one of the biggest defenseman scoring threats in recent history. He netted nine last season and has three in three games in 2017-18.

That’s 12 in 39 games. The rest of the RedHawks entire D-corps has the same number in that span.

Also, Hutton’s goals have all come on the power play, as he is in a nine-way tie for first in the NCAA in PPGs and among just three defensemen with three man-advantage tallies.

– Love seeing Karch Bachman score. He seems to create a scoring chance every time he’s on the ice, and he was rewarded with ice/power play time on the Kiefer Sherwood line. Here’s hoping he gets more time on the man-advantage and the penalty kill, where he held his own vs. Providence. He’s got great speed, a great shot and an active stick that creates turnovers. He could break out this season.

– We saw the Josh Melnick-Gordie Green chemistry in Plymouth, and that was on display again on the east coast. They were on the ice together for five of Miami’s goals, and one or the other was out there in each of the team’s seven markers.

– Casey Gilling: 16-4 in the faceoff circle on Friday. This is a very welcome stat, as it’s an area in which the RedHawks have struggled in recent years.

– On the flip side, Miami still has work to do defensively, as it has allowed 10 goals in six periods (albeit one of those games didn’t count), and it won’t score seven goals a game the rest of the season. Ryan Larkin faced 25 shots and allowed five goals last night, and his save percentage is just .857 thus far. His defense needs to help him see fewer high-quality chances, and he needs to stop more of the ones he does face.

Miami loses opener to Providence

OXFORD, Ohio – Providence scored twice in a span of 1:56 – late in the second period and early in the third.

Those were the decisive goals as the Friars beat Miami, 3-1 in the teams’ season opener at Cady Arena on Friday.

Providence (1-0) opened the scoring 7:57 into the first period when Ryan Tait corralled a loose puck in the Miami faceoff circle and slipped it through RedHawks goals Ryan Larkin.

Miami’s Austin Alger (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami (0-1) tied it when freshman Austin Alger skated laterally into the slot and whipped one just under the crossbar with 2:43 left in the opening period.

Greg Printz slipped behind the RedHawks’ defense and beat Larkin late in the second period to put the Friars ahead for good.

Providence’s Josh Wilkins stole the puck from Phil Knies at the blue line and scored the final goal.

It was Alger’s first career goal, and a pair of fellow freshmen assisted on it for their first collegiate points – Knies and Casey Gilling.

Miami appeared to have cut the lead to one in the third period, but an apparent goal by Kiefer Sherwood was waved off after it was ruled he interfered with the goalie while slipping the puck past him.

The RedHawks’ Gordie Green was also denied a goal after a review when his breakaway shot hit the crossbar.

Larkin stopped 27 shots in the losing effort.

Miami’s winless streak was extended to 11 games, its longest since 1991. The RedHawks are 0-10-1 in that span and have not won since Jan. 28.

The teams will wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Season preview I: New faces

Four forwards and two defenseman join the Miami program this fall.

Plus Christian Mohs enters his redshirt freshman season after injuring himself prior to 2016-17.

All of the incoming freshmen played their juniors hockey in the USHL, the top such league in the U.S., and Mohs thrived in the NAHL.

BoB takes a look at the new faces in Oxford this fall.

F Ben Lown, Omaha (USHL) – A product of the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s (Minn.) program, he scored 70 goals in two seasons in their youth development program. He logged the majority of 2015-16 in the NAHL and played his first full season of USHL hockey last year as an 18-year-old with a brutal Omaha team, going 11-12-23 with a minus-25 rating in 51 games. He’s super small at 5-feet-7.

F Christian Mohs, Minot (NAHL) – Mohs blew his knee out prior to last season and was reshirted. He played high school hockey for three years in his native Minnesota, and after a year of NA3HL, he joined Minot for 2015-16. In two seasons there he racked up 101 points in 118 games, including 35 goals. Mohs is already 22, so he has plenty of experience, but the question is how well he will do when he puts his repaired knee to the test. With hockey players, it often takes time to regain confidence.

F Casey Gilling, Muskegon (USHL) – Gilling played his first full season in the USHL in 2016-17, and he racked up 15 goals and 18 assists in 33 games, thriving after playing the previous season in the NAHL. He has good size for college at 6-feet-1, 185 pounds. He’s still just 19 and has over two full seasons of juniors experience under his belt.

F Phil Knies, Sioux City (USHL) – Knies was actually born in Slovakia but grew up in Phoenix. Another small guy at 5-9, 170, Knies thrived in his second USHL season. He scored 21 goals, set up 20 more and was plus-17 and picked up 10 points in 13 playoff games as Sioux City was a Clark Cup finalist.

F Austin Alger, Muskegon (USHL) – The younger brother of teammate Alex Alger, Austin recorded 43 points in 57 games last season with Omaha and Muskegon. It was his second season in the USHL and he nearly doubled his point rate over 2015-16. Alger is almost identical in size to his brother at 5-11, 167. He was named Mr. Hockey in Michigan his senior season of high school prior to his USHL career. He scored 86 goals in four prep seasons.

D Alec Mahalak, Youngstown (USHL) – In his first USHL game, Mahalak recorded three assists. That was the only contest he would play in for Youngstown in 2015-16, but he logged 58 games last season and tallied 23 points, including five goals. Mahalak is definitely small for a defenseman (5-9-171) but has good puck-moving skills and will hopefully be able to quarterback the power play at some point.

D Rourke Russell, Green Bay (USHL) – Last season, Russell made the jump from NAHL to USHL and thrived, dishing for 10 assists and recording a plus-15 rating in 59 games for Green Bay. He’s never scored a lot at any level but has a reputation as a solid shut-down guy. He is still building much-needed muscle for bone-crunching NCHC play. Russell is 6-1-176 and has a great hockey name.